Comics author Matt Kindt grew up with cats during his school and university years. He had some when he got married and had his child. Then around age 30, he suddenly became allergic to them.
“It was a very miserable experience,” Kindt says The Hollywood Reporter. “They were in my house but they couldn’t be on my bed. I couldn’t play with them. I loved cats but hated what they were doing to me.
That’s what the dynamic says HairballA new comic by Kindt and his frequent collaborator, artist Tyler Jenkins, with whom he’s created some great comics. Grass Kings, Black Badge And A case of fear. Jenkins’ wife, Hilary Jenkins, handles color.
The title is a rare foray into horror for the author known for his crime, spy and action books. Mind Mgmt, Department H And BRZRKR, the first issue of which later became the best-selling floppy of the century. He’s on Hollywood’s radar, with those three titles, as well as a few others, set up around town for adaptations.
“Horror is one of the genres I don’t work with very much,” says Kindt. “I don’t read or watch it. To do this, I thought I needed a good hook. A four-legged cat breed that may or may not feel like a good hook.
Hairball Centered on Anna, a young woman living in a dysfunctional family, begins to suspect that her black cat is behind all her troubles: her parents’ fights and strange whispers in her ear at night. As she tries her best to rid herself of this creature, she discovers that killing it is not so easy. But the cat is the only thing standing between her and an even greater evil that threatens to destroy her life.
The first issue of the four-part mini-series hits stores in April and comes from Dark Horse Comics. This is Kindt’s second title from his boutique imprint Flux House Spy SuperbIt will hit stores in January.
“Hairball Junji Ito could be described as Hayao Miyazaki meets Stephen King,” said Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson.
Kindt and Jenkins were looking for another idea to work on, the latter wanting to make a family drama, the former a horror book. The two met in the middle after the writer found his hook: the cat. Kindt says: “(Cats) are very mysterious. You can’t tell what they’re thinking. You can tell what a dog is thinking every second of the day. And there’s something inherently fun about the idea.
The writer first worked with Jenkins Grass kings, the rural crime comic series from Boom! Studios. That collaboration went so well that the two have worked together several times. “He’s ready to paint anything,” says Kindt, and compares him to the Austrian Expressionist painter Egon Schiele. “Tyler’s work leans more towards fine art than comic book illustrations.”
Jenkins’ style is crude and gritty, perfect for both family drama and horror. Hairball It has a very organic feel, somewhat rare in a field where the digital process has taken over so many parts of comic-making. Jenkins is writing the pages himself and his wife is hand-coloring.
And in keeping with the family theme, Kind’s own daughter contributed the cover for the fourth issue. Ella, 19, is studying art at the University of Minnesota and painted a cat portrait for a friend. The image stuck with him and “I was going to copy her (but) I decided to pay her to rip my daughter off instead.”
Check out a couple Hairball Including covers done by his daughter below.